Always on the hunt for a new remedy to eradicate bed bugs in the United States, scientists believe that they are on to something new. Well maybe not something new after all as scientists are looking to the past for help with bed bugs.
Bed bugs have plagued human homes since humans created homes. The New York Times reported on April 9, 2013 that Eastern European housewives used to surround their beds with bean leaves on the floor each night. In the morning they would awake to bed bugs stuck to the bean leaves. The leaves were collected each morning and burned.
The use of bean leaves was a folk remedy of the Balkans, and bean leaves for bed bug control was written about by a German entomologist in 1927. A scientist from the US Department of Agriculture wrote about the use of bean leaves for bed bugs in 1943, but thoughts of using it was put by the wayside with the creation, ease of use, and popularity of DDT. At the time, nobody knew that bed bugs would eventually become resistant to DDT.
Now scientists at California State University – Irvine and The University of Kentucky have been studying how those kidney beans stopped bed bugs in their tracks. The amazing realization is that the bean leaves do indeed work at stopping the bloodsuckers. Apparently kidney bean leaves have tiny, sharp, hook like hairs that protrude from the underside of the leaves. They are called “trichomes”. Now that scientists know that the kidney bean plant works for certain on trapping bed bugs, they are working to find a synthetic surface that will mimic the same impalement for the bloodsucking creature. So far, the bed bug has escaped their entrapment…but hopefully not for long!